May 18, 2020
Graduation season will have less pomp and circumstance this year because the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented public gatherings, and that has prompted local colleges and universities to take a variety of approaches to marking the occasion for their students.
Some institutions are going online to hold virtual graduation ceremonies with well-known speakers. Johns Hopkins University opted for some techie star power by selecting former Maryland resident Alexis Ohanian–co-founder of Reddit and husband of tennis superstar Serena Williams–to address its university-wide ceremony for more than 9,000 graduates on May 21.
“Been working on my speech for a little while now, adapting to the circumstances we’re now facing,” Ohanian tweeted a message aimed at Hopkins seniors. “Though I wish we could celebrate your achievement in person, I’m grateful to join your graduation exercises digitally.”
Nine Hopkins schools will have separate virtual graduation ceremonies with their own speakers over the next week, including the Peabody Conservatory, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Carey Business School and Bloomberg School of Public Health.